Sunday, December 20, 2009

I Love Mail!

I got to my parent's house on Friday after school/work let out to pick up The Boy and my mail.  I had a package waiting on me!  From my Secret Santa....who by the way happens to live in Jenks, Oklahoma!  Didn't know exactly where that was, so I Mapquested it and discovered that it is just a bit south of Tulsa and is about 444 miles away from me.

Anyway, I restrained myself from opening the package until I could get home to take pictures.  That was tough since it had fragile written on it and it was just calling my name to see what was so breakable. 

Once I broke into the package, (they had it taped up pretty darn good!) I discovered this:

The outside wrapping that it was shipped in was an inside out Bath and Body Works bag!  I love the snowman box.  Once I opened it up, I found:


a happy snowman card.  Below the card:


Ghiardelli chocolates!  Getting good already!


Peppermint Bark, Pecan Pie and Eggnog flavors.  I have never had the Pecan Pie or Eggnog flavors before, but love the Peppermint and am looking forward to trying the others.  Digging further, I found:

                                               
a candle that looks like a Candy Cane.  I actually sniffed it to see if it also smelled like a Candy Cane!  I carefully removed:

                                                
a really cute Santa ornament and:

                                              
a nifty little Santa mug.  I love the tiny Santa sitting on the handle!

You put it all together in a pile outside of the cool shipping box and you get:
                                 
a whole bunch of goodies that my Secret Santa picked out specially for me!

Thank you Secret Santa!  I love the whole box of cool Christmas goodies!

And a major thank you goes out to Georgie and Amy.  They have done an awesome job of coordinating this Secret Santa Soiree.  I know that there have been some issues, but I truly hope that they will brave the elements again next year.

Friday, December 18, 2009

And the Winner is....

I have officially not won the letter to me contest that I entered over here.  My streak is still intact!  Yay me!!  You can read the winning entry at this locationCongrats!

Am I unhappy?  Yeah, kind of.  Just in the sense that I would have loved to have won.  But, it is no big deal.  There were a lot better letters to selves out there than mine.  Of course, if mine hadn't been the first and everyone could see what they were up against, then maybe theirs wouldn't have been so darn better!  (Yes, I am just joking.  Kinda....)


Maybe I am just saving up all my winnings for something really big....like the Power Ball lottery!  Then all those folks who won things in contests that I entered will be sad that they already used up their win.  Yeah, probably not.


I saw that the person I sent my Secret Santa stuff to has received it and posted about it.  They say they like it.  But I feel kind of bad because I sent something that would go with something else I was under the impression they already had.  Evidently that was not the case.  Now they are going to have to wait to use the gift since they are having to wait to get the item I sent the gift for.  (Wow! Did that even make sense?!)

Like I said in another post, it was kind of hard to get something for this person because they are the exact opposite of me.  But, according to the recipient, I didn't do too terribly bad.  I just hope they aren't too disappointed in the fact that they will have to wait to use part of what I sent.  If they are reading this, then I hope they forgive me.

I am still waiting on my gift to come in the mail (or by FedEx or UPS or Santa's Sleigh).  I have gawked at some of the other Secret Santa packages that have been sent, so I am really looking forward to seeing what I get.  I have been pretty impressed with what others have come up with.

Maybe it will be in the next couple of days so that I can get pictures up on here before I am without daily access to a computer with internet!  If not, then I will take pictures and post as soon as I possibly can.

Last night, we went to the Shriner's Christmas Party.  This is for all of the past and present Shriner's patients in our area.  My Crazy Man is a former patient.  He had several operations and was a patient of theirs for over six years.  Because of their kindness, this is something that is near and dear to our hearts.

In years past, Santa shows up and all of the kids and siblings receive a present.  And by kids, I mean the patients, no matter the age.  Now, the siblings have to all be under the age of 13 to get a gift.  The meal was served free to the patient and one guest along with any child.

This year, anyone over age 18 had to pay for their meal (former patients included) and only those kids under age 13 received a gift.  The economy is hard on everyone this year.

Please don't read that previous paragraph as a complaint.  It totally is not.  I am just explaining how things were and how they are now.  We gladly pay for our meals and Crazy Man has told them for years to use the money they were spending on his gift to make sure that another child is helped.

We love going to support this group.  I love to see the little ones eyes light up as Santa comes in and they get him for a few minutes all to themselves.  AND they get a cool gift!  To watch some of these kids grow is fun too.  This year, the kids ranged in age from 4 months up to 82 years old.  Everyone has a good time!

They have us all seated at certain tables, so that no body gets to pick where they want to sit.  They try to make sure that a Shriner and his wife sit at each table.  For the past three years, we have shared a meal with the Roloffs.  This year, we were sitting with Charlie Brown and his wife.

That just tickles me.  Of course I get amused by some of the silliest things.  But, having a Christmas meal with Charlie Brown is just fun to say!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Crazy Week


When we got home on Sunday afternoon, this is what we found.


We had to hunt for the actual mailbox.  Once my Crazy Man climbed over the ditch and worked his way through the thorns to the other side of another ditch,



this is what he found.



Once I made it inside, I ended up calling the police to file a report.  I told them that this was the second time this had happened.  The officer asked if I had made a prior report.  I told him no and he wanted to know why I had not.

The first time it happened, it was summer.  We thought a tractor pulling a farm implement had hit it.  Once the farmer realized he had done it, he stopped and threw it in the ditch out of the road.  Now, we are thinking otherwise.

I also told the officer that it looked as if someone had tied something around it to actually pull it off instead of hitting it to knock it off.  He wanted to know why I thought this.  I told him it was because the nails holding the darn thing on were not bent.



I then went on to tell him that I had been having telephone problems that I reported on November 23rd.  I told him that the following day, I found this:



Someone had taken/destroyed the casing that is supposed to contain these wires.


I told him that these things don't seem coincidental.  He agreed.  He asked if I had anyone who was mad at me.  Duh!  I am a school nurse.  There are people mad at me on a daily basis!  My brother is also pretty ticked at me.

He asked if anyone had made any type of threats against me lately.  I told him that only my brother.  He asked what type of threats and I told him.  He asked if he should go speak to him.  I pleaded with him not to do so.  When he asked why not, I told him that if he went to question my brother about suspicious activity on my property, that would just make things worse for me.  He told me he understood but still wonders if it was him.  I don't think it is and told the officer that.  I told him that I think if it was my brother, he would make sure that what he did was more personal....and probably not a felony...just something to make me more scared.

At this point, the officer says that he will make a report and will have the police in my neighborhood much more frequently.  He said that he would try to have an officer patrol around my home at least once a shift.  I don't know if that is actually happening since I haven't seen them since making the report, but I guess I have to trust that it is.

I did tell the officer that I had a loaded weapon at the ready.  He told me that I had every right to protect myself and my property.  I told him that he needed to let his fellow officers know especially if they decide to knock on my door.  I would hate for there to be a shoot out by accident!

He told me that I am to call him immediately if I notice any strange vehicles in my area.  I told him that if anyone drives down my lane, they are considered a strange vehicle since usually nobody comes to my house without calling first.

In other news....

I was not at school/work again yesterday.  The Boy woke me up nearly in tears with back pain that spread around to his belly yesterday morning.  Once he settled down a little, the pain seemed to be focused around his belly button and then towards his right side.  He also had a low grade temp.

We ended up at the doctor's office waiting for about 3 hours to rule out appendicitis.  After the exam, the doc said that he truly did not believe that he had appendicitis, but he wanted the lab work to back him up on that thought.

He told us to get the labs drawn and then come back and wait for the results in his office.  He did not want us to leave until he could tell me face to face that the labs were fine.

Neither me nor The Boy wanted to get labs drawn!  He was quite terrified while waiting, but did an excellent job of not melting down.  Luckily the girl got it with one stick.  I was really proud of him.

The final word from the doc was this: "According to his labs, he doesn't have appendicitis. Could just be viral, but I will be here Thursday and Friday if you need me."

I am really glad that we didn't have to have surgery.  That would not have been fun!

Before Crazy Man got home last night, I had to take The Boy to my parent's house because I had to go to the funeral home with a friend.  The mom to one of the girls I grew up with died.  So, another friend and I went together.

This woman was truly loved!  We stood in line for nearly an hour.  When we left, the visitation was only supposed to last for another 45 minutes, but there had to have been enough people that it was going to be at least another hour and a half to two hours.

She was a beautiful woman, both inside and out.  I can remember her throwing her daughter a surprise birthday party one year.  She came to school and picked up several of us and then we headed to her house.  She had her daughter ride the bus, just like every other day so that when she got home, we were all waiting for her!  And this woman could cook!  She made the best cinnamon rolls I have ever eaten!  I know that my friend will miss her terribly.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that the rest of this week goes well.  We only have today and half a day tomorrow.  Hopefully The Boy will be well enough to make it through these.  He has finals both days, so I am hoping that those go well also.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Weekend

I was planning on doing a post yesterday to show what we did this weekend.  Unfortunately, if you showed up yesterday, you noticed that I was no where to be found.  There is a good reason for that.

We were home sick.  Well, not me, but The Boy.  And, since I would never dream of leaving The Boy home alone sick, I got to stay home too.  That left me without the planned post for here though.

Today I am back!  The Boy is feeling much better.  Don't know what the deal was.  He complained of his stomach hurting for about 36 hours and ran a fever for about 12 of those.  Never threw up.  His temp did get up to 101, but it went away without me giving him anything for it.

Now the dog has it though.  Really?!  Yes, really.  Now I don't know that the dog has a temp, but I do know that he has been throwing up with diarrhea since yesterday about 5pm.  Lucky, huh?!

This weekend, in case you didn't know, was Wreaths Across America.  All across the country, wreaths are placed on graves of those buried in military cemeteries.  We did this last year at the closest military cemetery to us.  This is about an hour away from home, but since we heard about it, it has become something we plan to do each year.





We took The Boy last year and again this year.  We feel that it is something that he learn about and understand what it means.  I think he is getting it.  Of course, the worst part is the cold.  And I am certain that if given the opportunity to pass that up, he would.  I do hope that as time goes on that he will do it in spite of the weather though.

My Crazy Man (on the right) and Boyfriend rode their motorcycles.  They are members of the American Legion Riders and said that they were riders, not drivers.  Boyfriend's Wife, The Boy and I were drivers!  It was in the 20s with a hefty wind blowing.




On Sunday, the American Legion Riders placed big wreaths at the entrances of four of our local cemeteries.  Boyfriend saw a cameraman from the local news on Saturday and let him know what we would be doing on Sunday afternoon.  This cameraman told one of the reporters, and they came out to do a story.  It was nice to get a little bit of recognition.  Not for what we do/did, but so that maybe we could get more to join in with us.



I was wrapping some Christmas presents the other night.  If anyone has cats, they know that sometimes getting anything done with them around is a challenge. 


Sinatra was a good kitty.  He decided that it would be better if he stayed out of the way.  After all, I may be wrapping something for him!







Ziggy, on the other hand......





He thinks that he has to be in the middle of everything!  What a helper!


I am nearly done wrapping.  And am waiting on a couple of things to be delivered that I had ordered.  I also have to still figure out something for my grandpa.  Any clues what a 92 year old man would like/need?!



Friday, December 11, 2009

Rambling Thoughts

I am so glad that it is Friday!  Matter of fact, I am glad that next week only has four and a half days for us to attend.  And, when we are released at noon next Friday, I don't have to come back until January 4th!  The worst part is that I will not be able to post anything here whenever I feel the urge.  I will have to find a computer to use.  Don't think for a minute though that I would trade my days off for having access to a computer!

I have gotten most of our Christmas gifts bought and wrapped.  They are not under the tree yet though because we have not put our tree up.  I know....pretty soon it will be too late.  But we haven't been home a lot these past few weeks.  I am hoping to get it up this weekend.  If not, then it may have to wait until we get out of school.

I entered this contest with the letter to my younger self a few days ago. Thought I would have a decent chance since nobody had entered it at that time.  Now there are several others that have entered, so my chances are slowly decreasing!  Much easier to win something when you are the only entry!

Also discovered that according to Georgie over at decisionally challenged, I am nowhere near the last one to mail my Secret Santa gift.  There are still 75 folks who have not sent in the delivery confirmation number....and there are only four more sending days until they should be shipped.  I somehow feel much better about that!  I also got driving directions to see just how many miles the package I mailed had to travel from my house to theirs.  Can't tell you now, but I will once we are allowed to disclose who we sent our gift to.  I think it would be fun to know just whose gift traveled the farthest to reach it's destination!


This weekend, we are going to be doing something special.  But I can't tell you about it yet.  I want to have pictures to go with my explanations.  I will tell you that it is something that we joined in on last year and have decided that it will be something that we will attempt to do every year from now on.  Last year it was cold and windy and this year looks to be the same way unfortunately.

Have I mentioned how much I hate being cold?  Well, I don't like it at all.  As I sit here typing this in a supposedly warm building, I have a short sleeve shirt, a long sleeve shirt and a hoodie on.  Plus jeans and two pairs of socks.  And no, I am not breaking a sweat.  Honestly....my feet are still cold!  Other than that, I am fairly comfortable.

My husband's cousin is living in Hawaii at the moment.  She was saying the other day that she was going to the beach and that it was hot there.  I told her that I hoped that she and her husband were sent to Alaska by the Army on their next assignment.

The Boy tells me this morning on the way to work/school that he has two different Christmas lists.  He makes one for me and one for his father.  Tells me that this way he won't get duplicate gifts.  Smart, except that by doing this, when there is nothing on the list that I can either afford or am willing to get, then I don't have a clue that there are other things out there he is wishing for.  And I discovered that of these two lists, the items I have been presented with are much more expensive than what is on the other list!  I think the DNA Donor has The Boy convinced that I make more money than he does.  Amazing how that is so far from the truth!

I told The Boy that he needs to only make one list and then if it is a big thing that he is asking for, then if I decided I wanted to be the one to get it for him, I would just call DNA Donor and let him know to mark it off the list.  I know there are problems with that theory, (because I have lived through them) but I still feel it is the best solution.  Convincing The Boy of that is an entirely different thing.

Got paid yesterday.  It is gone.  Early in the year, I sat down and made a list of all our bills and when they were due.  I then made a list with all the dates that both myself and Crazy Man were supposed to be paid.  Once that happened, then I could assign bills to a paycheck.  Every bill has a paycheck.  Everything gets paid this way, and sometimes I get ahead.

How do I get ahead?  Well, some months have an extra week in them.  The way I do it, the bills come out in order.  That way at the end of the year when Crazy Man's checks get smaller because of less work available for him, I don't have to worry about not having the money to pay a bill.

I also have figured out that at the end of the week before I add in the next check, I divide the total my checkbook shows and take half of that to put into savings.  Even if it is only a couple of dollars, I have been able to save quite a bit.  We have been saving like this for 9 months so that we can have money to spend on our Hawaii trip.  I like being able to have money ready to pay bills so that I am not looking to see who can be put off for another month.

We don't make a lot of money, but we have everything we need.  And, even some things that we want!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Braces

I know that everyone out there who has children handpick anyone they take their children to.  Like doctors and dentists and such.  When you have a child who resides within the autism spectrum, this becomes an even bigger deal.

I have been known to tell a doctor to leave my son's hospital room and not to come back.  I have fired a dentist for calling my son stupid to his face and I have gotten into a shouting match with an orthodontist.

The Boy sees a pediatrician who is very understanding and treats him with respect.  He has yet to lose his patience with him, although you can see on his face that he is close!

His eye doctor was specially chosen because he has a child also on the autism spectrum.  I kind of figured that if he deals with this on a daily basis in the home, then he is the one to work with The Boy for his eye exams.

His newest dentist and I had a long talk via phone before I took him in for his first visit.  I explained that visits with him would be long and tiring for us all.  He told me that it would be no problem and that he had worked with autistic kids before.  We had one incident there, but a quick call after the appointment to speak with the dentist has cleared it all up.

The orthodontist is a special thing.  This orthodontist is the same one that I went to as a kid.  And, he has an autistic son.  That gave him two brownie points!

When I first started taking The Boy there, it was August of 2003.  After one visit in which we had to do dental impressions, there was a big blow up.


If you have ever had impressions done before, you know that you have to put this big cumbersome tray filled with squishy icky tasting gunk in your mouth and hold it until it sets.  Of course to get what they need it has to be pushed to the very back of your throat.  It gags you and you can't swallow, so you are drooling all over yourself.  Granted, all of it only takes about 20 seconds, but it is still a major ordeal. Or at least it is with my son!

What happened is this:  When we started going to the orthodontist, we started with a retainer to try to keep him out of braces.  Once they realized that he had teeth growing in funky places, braces were the next step.  They wanted to get another set of impressions at that point.

The problem started when they decided that he was big enough to not need me with him when this was done.  They told me that it would go best if I just waited in the waiting room.

After much yelling (which could be heard throughout this big office!) they came to get me.  I went back, calmed him down and we started again.  The girl that was doing this wasn't the nicest person and you could tell she had never had to deal with anything like this before.  It was in his records that you have to explain everything that is going to happen.  She didn't.

Finally at some point, the girl who had done the previous impressions came over and together, we got it done.


Once that was completed, we were walking through where the doc was working on another patient with family at her side.  He stopped us and asked what the problem was.  He asked if The Boy had been traumatized at the dentist office in the past.  He said that he had never seen a child my sons age/size act like that and that it was uncalled for.


Without raising my voice, I said: 


"You, of all people, should know what the problem is.  You were handpicked for several reasons, one of which is because you also have an autistic son.  My son has autism and you should know what this is like.  You should understand that someone is coming at him without explanation.  That some stranger is touching him without his permission.  That they are putting something in his mouth that has an awful taste and texture to him.  They are forcing all of this on him without his mom being around.  And now the doctor himself is asking what the problem is.  You, of all people, should know what the problem is.  And if you can't quickly figure it out, I will take my son and leave this office and figure out in the process how to make sure the community knows that despite having his own autistic child, this man has no idea how to deal with them."

This man quickly dropped his head and apologized.  He not only apologized to me and The Boy, but he also apologized to all who were within range of hearing our conversation.  He agreed that I was in the right and he was in the wrong.  He said that he had been having a rough day and took it out on the two of us.  He also said that we would assign one specific person to The Boy to take care of him.

From that point on, we have had no problems at all.  We got lucky and were assigned Shannon. She has been wonderful!  The Boy will not allow anyone else to touch him.  A few visits ago, another girl came out to get him, but he didn't want to go....until she told him that Shannon was busy and had asked if she would just go get him to bring him back.  But, Shannon would be the one working with him.


When he got the braces put on, we were told that they hoped that it would only take about 2 years.  We have had to go to an oral surgeon for a bracket to be placed on a tooth that was growing in the middle of the roof of his mouth.  This bracket had a chain attached to it that they have been "reeling in" to get it into the correct position.


On his last visit, the orthodontist made the mistake of saying that we may have to split his gum so that the tooth will come through.  He said that it was right there, but may need to be shown the light.


This terrified The Boy.  I didn't really realize how much until we were on our way to his appointment yesterday.  Normally, going to see Shannon is no big deal.  Yesterday, he was sad and quiet.  He told me he didn't want his gum to be cut.  We talked about our options (braces forever, or cut gum if need be) and he decided that he wanted neither of those!


Once his wire was out, he went to brush his teeth and I told Shannon what the problem was.  She went over to speak with the doc and give him a heads up.  When the doc came over, he apologized for making The Boy worry and said that the tooth seemed to be just about to break through!  He said that the gum covering the tooth was paper thin now and there should be no problem.  There was only one link of chain showing and it was easy to slide the tie wire through it.  The wire this doc uses is that stretchy type of wire that some folks use to string beads and make bracelets and such with.  The Boy and I call it 'spaghetti wire' because it is seems so flimsy.


That is when it happened.  As the doc was tying the chain to the wire with the spaghetti wire, it broke.  He was pulling it really tight and the spaghetti wire broke into two pieces.  When that happened, it also pulled the chain and (I can only assume) the tooth down.  Now instead of only one full link showing, there was one and a half showing.  And, it cut his gum.

The Boy didn't realize that the whole incident had cut his gum and caused it to bleed some.  Let me tell you though....when he figured it out, he told the doc that it hurt and that he was not very happy with him!  Luckily there was no crying or yelling, and we made it out of there a few minutes later.

On December 29th, we go back for his next appointment.  We are keeping our fingers crossed that we make due to weather (ya never know!) and that this tooth that we have waited so very long on will finally make it's appearance.

In December 2007, braces were put on.  In April 2008, the chain was attached to our little rogue tooth.  We hope that all braces are off by this time next year.  The Boy has already reminded us that the two years that he feels was promised to him was a lie.  He may not truly understand the concept of time, but he can do math!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Letter to Myself

I know that I mentioned before that I am taking part in the Secret Santa Soiree this year.  Well, I got my shopping completed this weekend and now am just waiting on the perfect time to make it to the post office.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that they like what I found that I felt was pretty much right on for them!

I was looking at some of the other sites that have posted about what they have already received from their Secret Santa.  I am looking at all the goodies that they have laid out with pictures of and am wondering just how they found all that stuff with only $20!

I also came across chocolatecovereddaydreams.blogspot.com who had a neat little giveaway.  Yeah, I like what she is giving away, but what really caught my attention was the subject. The subject is "if you could write a letter to your younger self, giving advice for the future, what would it say?  Would the letter be funny or serious?"

I thought that would be something fun to write about.  Plus, I may win a prize!  Go me!  So, without further ado....my letter to me.




December 8, 2009

Dear Me,

I would say that upon receiving this you would be a bit shocked to find who it is written by, but since I know you, then I don't think you will be surprised at all!  I figure you will be quite happy to know that you survived until at least now!  Especially since there will be days upcoming in which you will seriously question as to whether you will.

So I am needing to give you a little advice for you to make it to this point in your life.  I know you are young and have your whole life ahead of you and would really like for me to tell you just what to do to make things all the better.

If I did that though, you would not have all the experiences that I now possess.  If I told you everything that would happen to you in the coming years, then you may just decide to change a few things.  And if you did that, you may miss out on some of the greatest things that has happened in your life.

I will tell you this.....you are going to make a few decisions that you will question later on.  Trust me...I am questioning them for you as I write this!  But once you look at the bigger picture, you will realize that if it weren't for some of the stupid things you did, you wouldn't have the great things you have.

Doesn't make sense, does it?  To make stupid mistakes and get something wonderful out of it.  But you did it.  And, today, in your future, you have it.

You have a wonderful husband who loves you to distraction.  You have a gorgeous son who you can not imagine living without.  You have a job in a tough economy and you are able to help provide for the family that you adore.  Nothing else matters.  And because of some mistakes you made, you have all of this.

My old person advice to my younger self?  Trust in the choices you make.  Pay attention to your heart and heed the information you have available to you to make those choices.  Know that they are the right ones for you and your current situation.  And know that in the end, they will all even out.

I know, I know.  Here you get a letter from the future, and I don't tell you how I got here.  You were wanting me to tell you how you could make things perfect for the future.

Read it again....I have.

Love, 
Me

Friday, December 4, 2009

Stuff

Do you know how hard it is to buy a gift for someone you don't know?  I have joined the Secret Santa Soiree (as noted by the button over there on the left).  When I stumbled across this idea, I thought it would be great fun.  Don't get me wrong...it is great fun.  However.....  
 
When all these people signed up, I went browsing all of their sites to see what I could find out about those who were on the list.  As I was looking, I came across one that I literally stopped and said "this is the one I will be paired with to buy a gift for."
 
I don't know why I thought this other than the fact that as I was looking, I felt that this would be the person that would be so difficult for me to buy for.  Why?  Because we are complete and total opposites!  
 
This girl is really a girly girl.  Me....not so much!  Now, I am not saying anything that she hasn't said herself, so don't think that I am judging her because I am not. She loves the color pink, and I think that I actually own one pink scrub top and a pink sweatshirt.  I do own a pink pair of fake crocs and the tennis shoes I am wearing are pink...but this is not my favorite color.

She lives in the city and as you can tell by the name of this blog, I definitely do not!  I also had a hard time coming up with something because she rarely posts.  It is really hard to get to know someone when they don't put much out there.  

Now, having said all of that, I think that I found something that she will enjoy. I make no promises though.  Is it a girly girl gift?  Is it something pink and frilly?  Can't tell ya that!  I haven't mailed it yet and I have not told her who I am yet.  I don't think that she visits here, but I don't want what I am sending to be blaring from the page just in case she does and figures out I am talking about her!  

Now all I have to do is pack it up and get it to the post office.  I am thinking of having my Crazy Man mail it while he is out on the road. That way she won't know (in case she does happen to stumble across this little lost in the woods post) where it really came from.  And, I am really looking forward to seeing what my Secret Santa picked out for me!  Maybe I am just as hard to buy for since I could be that person's opposite too!

In other news....

I found some of the items that I had bought for Christmas online for less money than I spent at the store.  So, I placed the order for them and will return the ones that I bought in person.  Am I the only one who does that?!  Please tell me that I am not!  I did that with three things this year.  Two of them were for The Boy.  I am waiting on the delivery of six or seven things that I found online that we could not find in the stores.  I have been told that they will all arrive before Christmas, so I am keeping my fingers crossed. 

The Boy is obsessed with this video game called 'Halo'.  Now, I don't know a ton about it, but I do know that it is a war type game.  I personally don't like those types of things, but how do you change someone's obsession?  Anyway, he loves the game and everything about it.  
 
When people use the term obsessed, it could mean anything.  However, when I say obsessed, I mean it!  How obsessed you ask?  Well, obsessed enough that he has already told me that he will be going to college to get a degree so that he can work for this company that makes this game.  He has already looked into what jobs they have available at this time to see what kind of degree he may need.  He has looked for a college close by this place to determine if they would be able to provide the degree he would need.  He has even gone so far as to look online to see if there were houses available to buy so that he would have a place to live. And, he only looked in a 7 mile radius from the company's headquarters.  I'm telling you....obsessed!
 
There are chapter books that have been written based on the game's premise and I took him to our library to look for them.  When he realized that they did not have them, he was a bit upset.  But, I told him that he could always request that the library get them.  He didn't think it would work, but I convinced him to ask anyway.  About four weeks ago, the library called and said that they had books on hold for him.  We went in, and they had ordered two sets!  They checked out one set to him and put the others on their shelves.  He was so excited!  He has been reading them and is now working on getting the last one read.
 
I found a big book called the Halo Encyclopedia.  This is going under the Christmas tree with his name on it!  Matter of fact, this is one of the things that I bought and then found online cheaper.  It was delivered last night, so this weekend I will be returning the other one.  

We also found that there are Lego sets that are based upon this video game.  Needless to say, he will be receiving some of those from family also.  He loves Legos and Halo.  How can we go wrong?!
 
This morning on the way to school/work, I asked The Boy if he had gotten his Christmas shopping done.  He of course said no.  I was teasing him and asked when he was going to buy my gift.  He just looked at me and said "I know people."  I busted out laughing and asked if he was a member of the Mafia!  He just grinned and said "maybe."  He just cracks me up sometimes!
 
I think this weekend we are going to stay home and try to get the Christmas stuff out and things wrapped to put under the tree.  First we have to clean out a path in the garage to get to the things though!  One of these days I am hoping to become more organized.  Maybe when we build onto the house that will happen.  Until then I am stuck with just clearing a path! 
 
As I finish up here, I realize that when I am able to sit down and actually type out a post, they all end up pretty long.  I can't imagine that I have that much to actually talk about!  And maybe I don't.  But typing the words rather than just saying them to myself seems take longer!  Sorry if anyone out there reading these things thinks that I talk too much.  Normally I am a pretty quiet person.  Always been easier for me to write what I am thinking rather than say it, I guess.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Can You Feel The Power?

On Tuesdays, I take my son to his counseling appointment.  Well, at least on most Tuesdays.  He has been seeing this counselor since June of 2004.  I started taking him to her when he began banging his head against the wall hard enough to bloody his nose.  He usually attends once a week (usually on Tuesdays right after school) as long as she is available.

Since he has started counseling, the head banging and self biting episodes have become nearly non-existent.  It has helped with lots of other things too.  Well...here...let me just quote the paragraph that is in his newest yearly treatment plan: "has demonstrated progress in his ability to accept criticism and/or correction, to develop social relationships appropriate to his developmental level, to display spontaneity and emotional and/or social reciprocity, and to express and understand humor.  Additionally, his display of self-abusive behaviors has greatly decreased.

So I guess that 5 and half years of weekly counseling has brought us a long way, huh?!  Of course, there are about two pages of things that we are working towards at this time, but we have still come a long way!

With all of that said, why would you want to stop taking your child to a place that has done so much good for him?  Well, I don't want to.  However...I am not the only one who makes these decisions.  I have held off the DNA Donor several times concerning this very thing.  You know how it is....too much time, costs too much, doesn't need it, yada yada yada.


Today, I am the one considering taking him out of therapy.  I know this is not a good thing to do, so maybe I should just switch counselors.  The problem with that (as every parent of an autistic child knows) is that he has 'bonded' with this counselor and has become quite comfortable in the environment that is provided each week.


So what has got me all in a tiz about possibly pulling him?  It all started last October.  Crazy Man got new insurance that covers all of us, The Boy included.  I told the girl at the front desk that The Boy now had a secondary insurance.  

*A little background info here: this is a one counselor office.  She did not have anyone who even sat at the front desk until her son got married to this girl. Once that occurred, this girl shows up in order to keep track of the appointments and payments and deal with insurance.*

When I told this girl that The Boy had a secondary insurance, she said "ok but his primary insurance is paying just fine, so we probably don't need to worry about sending it into his secondary."  


At the time, I was fine with that.  Once I began slowly coming to my senses and realized that if the secondary is billed, then that will go against his deductible, it was summer of this year.  I asked the girl if she would start to file those claims with both insurances and explained my reasoning.  


Let's just calmly say that she was not happy. After a couple of months, she told me that it was a pain and that if I wanted her to file the old claims, I would have to pay a fee of $8 or something like that so she could send them to the right place instead of the place she had been sending them.  I told her that I did not understand.  She said that my insurance has a different place that these mental health type claims go and that I should know that.  I told her that I did not know that, but I was not in charge of how insurance worked and all that went with it when sending in a claim.  I gave her the insurance card and can only read what it says and that it was her knowledge about insurance companies that I was relying on.



Needless to say, she wasn't happy again.  Well, neither was I if truth be told.  However, I gave her the money to have it refiled and went on my merry way.  I have yet to receive anything from my insurance company, but they are always slow and I have other things to worry/think about.


This past Tuesday, I took The Boy to his appointment.  He was in the midst of it and I was in the waiting area balancing my checkbook when the DNA Donor walked in.  This receptionist greets him (like she always has) with a bright cheery smile and a voice that goes up an octave compared to what she sounds like when talking to me.  DNA Donor gives her his check and doesn't even get to sit down before the counselor is out there telling him that we all need to come back and have a little meeting because "we have a problem."


I gather up all my stuff and walk into the little room where The Boy sits waiting.  I realize as I am sitting down at the table that not only is the counselor there (duh!) but so is her receptionist/daughter-in-law.


I have absolutely no idea what is going on here!  Her receptionist has a piece of paper laying face down on the table in front of her.  The counselor says that there are insurance problems and that "B" will explain them.  


"B" turns over the paper and says that she has received this explanation of benefits from the DNA Donor's health insurance denying the three claims she sent in for October.  She says that the insurance has written on this that the member must contact them with any information concerning a secondary insurance.  This includes who holds the secondary insurance, that person's name, address, phone numbers, social security number, and birthdate.  She tells us that until this is done, that all claims filed will be denied.  She then goes on to say that because these claims have been denied, they will have to be refiled and they have begun to charge $5 for each claim that is refiled.  So,  before the current denied claims are sent back through, we owe them $15.  

Once this has been spoken, "B" turns to me and says "you have three choices."  (How this had become all my problem at that point I wasn't sure!)  I was told that I could either give all of that information to the DNA Donor or I could have her stop filing with the secondary insurance or I could just pay the entire bill that had been denied by the insurance.


Taking a deep breath, I, as calmly as possible, told her that if she could give me a copy of the paper she was looking at that contained all the information being asked for and the phone number listed, I would be more than happy to call and get this done.  I told her that it was not my information that I would be giving, it was Crazy Man's and that his personal information is not legally mine to give.  I also told her that I seriously doubted that he would like me to just hand over that info to anyone.


"B" tells me that I have to give it to DNA Donor because he is the member and she would not give me a copy of the EOB.  I asked for the phone number then.  She again told me that the DNA Donor is the one who would have to have the information to take care of it.  


I told her that unless she gave me the phone number, we were at a standstill because there was no way that I was going to pay the whole bill when we had insurance that would take care of this, and since the primary insurance refuses to move ahead until information concerning the secondary is presented, she may as well not file with them either.


Again, "B" told me that I would have to give the information to DNA Donor.  I told her that I was legally allowed to take care of this because I order his prescription meds all of the time through this insurance.  She also told me that she had spent a lot of time filing these claims with both insurances and "your secondary insurance hasn't even paid anything." 


It hit me then as to why this was all my fault.  Evidently I have more power than I realized!  I am the one who controls how much an insurance company  pays and when they pay it!  Wow!  If I had known that I possessed this much power, I would have been finding a way to get a message to the President to let him know that if he is having trouble with insurance/health care, he should be talking to me because I have the power to change it all!  Amazing.  I think I am going to sell this service to folks that are having difficulty with their insurance companies.  Or at least the two companies that The Boy is covered under.

Becoming angry, I said that this was not totally my fault.  Yes, I would accept responsibility for asking her to send in the back claims for the year once I came to my senses and realized they could count toward my deductible.  I had paid my fine and that should be the end of that.  I would not take responsibility for the fact that the insurance isn't doing what she wants it to do.


The counselor looks at her and asks if there is a toll free number on the EOB.  When she was told that there was, the counselor told "B" to go make me a copy and she would set up a phone so that I could call and get this taken care of.  "B" stomped out of the room and I could then hear the copier.  


The counselor followed her out of the room and I hear "B" telling her that this was not her fault and this was not her job.  Once the copy was made, "B" comes back into the room and throws it on the table in front of me and then stomps out.


I go into the other room to call the insurance.  I tell them the problem and the lady asks who the secondary insurance is. I tell her and then she asks if I have a divorce decree that states that the DNA Donor is required to provide health insurance.  I tell her that I do.  She makes a note of that and says that she will resend these claims through and that their should not be a problem.  She tells me that the office does not have to do anything other than sit back and wait for a new EOB.  She says that I should also be on the look out for a new EOB.  When I explain to her that I have never seen an EOB from her company for my son, she tells me how I, as the biological child of a minor child, can receive the EOBs.


I thank her for her kindness and go back into the other room to let them know that everything is taken care of.  I tell them that nothing has to be refiled, so no charges should have to be paid.  I tell them that if the next EOB comes back as denied, to let me know and I will call them again to see about getting it taken care of.


I am told that if the charges are denied again, then I will owe them the full amount of what they had submitted which would also include the November charges, until the insurance issue was taken care of.  I laughed and said that there was no way that I would be able to take care of the complete cost of 7 visits by myself.  Again, I would accept my responsibility and do my best to pay my half, but the DNA Donor was going to have to step up and do his part too.  


Let me tell you.....I was ticked off.  However, not one time did I raise my voice nor did I cry like I usually do when I get so mad.  "B" stood there after I had taken care of all of this and tells me that she had been dealing with insurance issues all day and then she had to deal with me and she was just done.  None of this was her problem.  The counselor tells all of us "you have to understand that I provide a service here and "B" is hired to make sure that I am paid for that service."  


Really?!  Then how is this not her problem?  And, how is this not her job?  And, why did we have to use up my son's appointment time to take care of this situation?  Should this have not been taken care of at a different time?  How many times have you gone to a doctor's appointment and he invited the billing person into your visit with him to talk to you and hash out a payment plan?!


Yeah...I wish I had the power they all feel that I possess.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

My Husband Loves Me! A LOT!!

Hopefully everyone had a good Thanksgiving and was able to spent time with their families.  I also hope that everyone got the bargains they were looking for on the day after Thanksgiving!  We did both!

When I got home on Wednesday, I grabbed a bite to eat and then started in on the cooking.  I think I had said before that I was going to try to bake a couple of cheesecakes.  Do you know how long those things take to make?!  I worked on two cheesecakes and a sweet potato casserole and finally was able to finish after 8 hours.  All I could say at that point, is that those things better taste good! 

I had to get everything baked and ready to go because we were getting up at 5am on Thanksgiving to get into town so we could go to the Big Lots and K-Mart sale.  There were a couple things at each place that were high on the Christmas lists that we were going to try to fulfill.

The first cheesecake I made, we took to my Grandma's house.  It was Peanut Butter Cup flavor.  I thought the middle seemed a little less set than I would have liked, but Crazy Man had no complaints about it, so I guess it was done.





This second one was Turtle and we took it to Crazy Man's cousin's house.  We didn't eat until around 8pm and by then I was actually starting to get a bit hungry!  Crazy Man said this one was good too.  If I wasn't certain about the first one, then this one I really had my doubts about.  When I poured it into the pan, it was like soup.  And there was no way that it was done when the recipe said it would be done!  I ended up baking it for nearly double what it called for.  



I guess all in all, the meals were great.  The family time was a bit strained in both houses, but at least we were all together and everyone tried.  

Once we were done with our second meal, Crazy Man and I headed back into town.  We had decided that we were going to hit the Black Friday stores for some shopping.  I had my lists all made out as to what we needed and where we were going to attempt to get it.  

The Boy had gone to spend the night with his DNA Donor around 3pm, and would be back on Friday around 10am.  So, without him to have to worry about, we made our plans to stand in line. 

What we didn't really take into account however was the fact that the lines would be stupid this year.  Now, I have done this for the past several years.  I have a blast!  I hate to shop and this is the one day out of the year that I do all of my Christmas shopping to get it done.


We started out at Toys R Us.  They were supposed to open at midnight.  We decided to drive by at 10:30 and see how long of line there was.  If it was too outrageous, we would go get the second vehicle and my coat and then come back.  I had borrowed his dad's jacket just in case since it was supposed to get down into the 20s.


We ended up staying!  The parking lot was completely full.  Where our store is located, there are also two other stores (Big Lots and a fabric store), in the same plaza area and they share a huge parking lot.  Right across the street is the mall.  There were people parking at the mall and walking over.  

We were probably close to being number 300 or so in line.  By the time the store opened at midnight, there were probably at least a thousand in line.  It was unreal!  When we made it out of the store at 1:30am, the last person in line was standing where I was standing when I got into line.


Once we made it out of there, it was over to Kohl's.  They didn't open until 4am, but since we were up anyway, why not go get into line there?!  I got into line (about 10 people ahead of me) while Crazy Man took a nap in the truck.  Around 3:15, I decided that I was freezing and needed to use the bathroom, so Crazy Man came and took my place in line while I drove over to the Wal-Mart to use the facilities. Their parking lot wasn't too full at all at that point.

Once Kohl's opened, I made a mad dash in, got what I wanted and got in line.  Ended up that we spent longer in line than we did getting what we wanted!  But, I have to say, it did move faster than the line at Toys R Us.


Our next stop was at Wal-Mart.  Crazy Man dropped me off at the front door at about 4:55 and went hunting for a place to park since the lot was now full. He ended up parking halfway between Wal-Mart and Kohl's in the Sam's lot!  That Wal-Mart was so full, that there was absolutely no way you could have pushed a cart through the big main aisle by the registers.  Matter of fact, you couldn't even walk through that area.  We stood in line for over an hour to checkout.

Crazy Man then ran me across the street and dropped me at Target.  He went to K-Mart to get the one item we needed and came back to get me.  He was able to drive to K-Mart, find a parking spot, hunt for and get what we needed, wait in line for 40 minutes to pay, drive back to get me, and I was still in line.  I ended up being in the checkout line for nearly two hours at Target. 


We got Crazy Man back to the house a few minutes after 9am.  He went straight to bed!  I got into my vehicle and went back out to the fabric store that was next door to Toy's R Us.  The fleece that I use to make blankets was supposed to be 75% off and I was to meet my parents there.  I was in that crazy store for three hours.  And nearly all of that was spent standing in line!  However, I did manage to get enough material for at least 8 blankets and 4 new scrub tops for me!  

I finally made it home about 1pm.  The Boy had gotten home around 10 and he and Crazy Man met a friend for dinner.  I came home and crashed around 2pm.  I slept until about 5 when they wanted me to get up for supper.  When I woke up though, I was pretty sick to my stomach so I didn't end up eating.  Went back to sleep about 8pm and we all slept until noon on Saturday!


The worst part about Black Friday this year was the standing in line.  There really was not a lot of pushing and shoving and rudeness going on.  And, I managed to get about 95% of my list completed during those hours.  On Monday and Tuesday, I ordered a few things online and so today as I type this out, I am 99% finished.  I still have to find something for my mom and my grandfather.  Everything else is complete!

Crazy Man says that he won't be going to another Black Friday!  He says that he would have just as soon spent the extra money.  But, my thought is that we saved more than we spent.  I am not quite sure how that worked, but it did!  Probably because some of the things that I bought for $10 are regularly $25.  All in all, I think that we got some excellent bargains and I definitely plan to do it all again next year!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to any and all who read this!  I am hoping that you are all spending time with your family and friends and counting all of your blessings.

I thought I would make a list of things that I am thankful for.  They are listed in no particular order!


I am thankful for:


The Boy.  Without him, I would not be anything important.  I also would not have a clue what patience and understanding truly are if it weren't for him.



My Crazy Man.  He loves me no matter how ridiculously irrational I am.  He is truly the love of my life.  He makes me laugh when nobody else can or even attempts to try.


My family.  And that includes my family-in-law.  Most of them accept me for who I am.  For those who don't, then they can still have a happy Thanksgiving!


Plenty of food to eat and money to buy it with.  There are many out there that don't have either.  I have been there before and I hope and pray that I won't have to go there again any time soon.



A house and clothes to keep us warm and dry.


My friends.  I don't have a bunch of them, but the ones that I can count have taught me just what true friendship means.

My pets.  They have taught me about unconditional love.


Several days off in a row from work.  This is pretty self explanatory.  I am thankful that I have a job to have those days off from work however. 


All of the kids that I take care of.  They point out to me all the time the things that adults seem to miss.  Innocence is a good thing at times!  They remind me that being a kid is sometimes just as hard as being an adult.  They also remind me to look for the funny.


The men and women of our military.  A lot of these people are miles away from their own families.  Some of them just states away and others countries away.  For some of them, they are away from their family for the first time ever for a holiday.  Some are on a battlefield.  For everyone of them, I am thankful.  Because of them, I am able to write all of what I have written.  I am able to raise my son and give him all he needs.  I am able to spend time with my family because these men and women are away from theirs.  


May God bless each and everyone of those who are reading this.  And may you sit down and make your very own list.